John Halsey (musician)

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John Halsey
Also known as The Admiral
Born (1945-02-23) 23 February 1945 (age 69)
Origin North Finchley
Occupation(s) Publican / Musician
Instruments Drums / vocals
Associated acts The Rutles / Patto

John Halsey (born 23 February 1945, in Highgate) is a rock drummer, best known for his appearance as Barrington Womble ("Barry Wom") in The Rutles, leading to his playing with Neil Innes's band Fatso and appearing in the television film All You Need is Cash (1978).

Halsey was born in Highgate, North London and lived in North Finchley and was in a London-based rhythm and blues band called Felder's Orioles (1965 – 1968) with Mick O'Brien on bass; Barry Huband on vocals, organ; Paul Hodgson on guitar; Rod Hinkston on baritone saxophone and Peter Newman on tenor saxophone, who released four singles on the Piccadilly Records label between 1965 and 1968. Between 1967 and 1973 he was a member of a band from Southport called Timebox (formed in October 1965), who later became Patto without keyboard player Chris Holmes but with the four members Mike Patto (vocals), Peter "Ollie" Halsall (guitar vibes and vocals), Clive Griffiths (bass and vocals), and Halsey (drums and vocals).

With record producer Muff Winwood, they released three albums and split up in 1973. The band was critically acclaimed with their own style of music: "it was like rock and roll with the freedom of avant-garde"[citation needed]. Ollie Halsall is acclaimed[who?] as one of the finest guitar players Britain has ever produced. He died in Madrid in 1992. Mike Patto died in London in 1979.

Phil Collins says[where?] that Halsey is one of his major influences as a drummer and acquired his first set of Gretsch drums from him.

In 1972 Halsey played drums on the Lou Reed album Transformer and as a session musician performed on albums that included Mind Your Own Business by Henry McCullough (1975), Back to the Night by Joan Armatrading (1975), Bullinamingvase by Roy Harper (1977), Woman in the Wings by Maddy Prior (1978) and Mail Order Magic by Roger Chapman (1980).[1] He performed on tour with Joe Cocker, The Scaffold, Grimms, Chris Jagger, Neil Innes, Viv Stanshall, Joe Brown and many others.

In an interview he gave in 1992 to the fanzine Ptolemaic Terrascope,[2] he said he spent most of the 1980s selling fish from the back of a van after a near-fatal accident in May 1983 returning from a Joe Brown show in Chichester in a car being driven by Patto bass player Clive Griffiths (who suffered devastating injuries from which he has never fully recovered). Since then, Halsey has been a pub landlord, first in Suffolk in 1986 and since 1996 at the Castle Inn public house in Castle Street, Cambridge.

In 2001 Halsey appeared as the mystery guest on the BBC 2 comedy show Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

In 2007 he appeared on the Channel 4 show What The Pythons Did Next discussing what it was like to work with Eric Idle and at The Rutles 30 years get together in Los Angeles in April 2008 where the four original band members played together for the first time ever.


  1. ^ "John Halsey: Credits". Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Home page at". Retrieved 26 December 2009. 

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